Returned Peace Corps Volunteer Educators’ Insights on Culture Shock, Identity and Pedagogy
Interplay 5: Returning Home to Fantasyland
Returning Home to Fantasyland
“Don’t let me interfere with your pleasure in it,” she said, “but this whole place is false and rotten to the core.” Her voice came with a hiss of indignation. “They prostitute azaleas!”
Flannery O’Connor (1995) from The Partridge Festival
When it came time to leave Cameroon, I thought that I would be extremely sad. Strangely though, I wasn’t in the least bit sad. I was happy that I had come to Cameroon and happy to have met the people that I did. I had worked hard and I was satisfied that I had done a good job. I had made lasting friendships and I felt that I could do more for my friends, financially, in the U.S. than I ever could have in Cameroon. Besides, waiting for me on the other side were hamburgers, pizza, tacos, and, of course, my family and friends.
Wanting to take a long last look at Olawati, I walked to the outskirts of town where I could see everything stretched out before me. It seemed to gleam like pale gold in the afternoon sun. And then, it hit me. The first pang caught me off guard, the second made me nervous, and the third one meant that if I didn’t find someplace to have diarrhea soon, I would be washing out my dainties later that evening. Then I thought, “Oh, what’s the big deal?” I had seen thousands...
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